Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Scout's Duty - Chapter 35

< Chapter 34                                                                                                   Chapter 36 >
Her gas envelope ruptured, the Pauline falls from the sky!

I wrapped a protective arm around Callan and grabbed a line with my free hand.  Next to me, Nist worked the ailerons furiously.  Didn't he realize the airship was falling from the sky?  We couldn't have been more than forty feet above the ground, but that was plenty high enough to seriously injure us!

"Slide when we hit!" Nist shouted.

I had just enough time to wonder what he meant by that when the Pauline tilted sharply to starboard.  I suddenly understood Nist's plan and my considerable respect for the man's skill as a pilot rose several more notches.  The tilt would allow the airship to land on its hull rather than the much stronger keel.  The collapsing hull would absorb a lot of the force of the impact.  The angled deck would allow us to slide to the ground, dissipating even more of the force in the slide!

The Pauline struck the ground and my ears were filled with the sounds of cracking timber and shouting men.  I released the line and wrapped another arm around Callan.  I lifted her off the deck, protecting her from splinters, scrapes, and cuts as best I could.  My feet slammed into the starboard railing and my knees flexed to absorb the impact.  Then all was quiet except for the groans of the Pauline and her crew and the soft rustle of fabric as the gas envelope settled over us, blocking everything from view.

"Callan?"

"A little shaken up, but fine," she said.

I eased my grip on Callan.  "Nist?"

"Over here."

"You saved us all!"

"But I broke Pauline!"

"Callan and I will see that she is rebuilt," I assured him.

Fighting our way clear of the envelope, Callan and I emerged to find Caudill training his laser pistol on us!


It’s out of the frying pan and into the laser fire for our hero!  How can he hope to escape from this predicament?  Find out in Chapter 36, coming Friday!